Killing the “Just Because” Programs

imprrh@gmail.com —  February 3, 2014

Killing the “Just Because” Programs

The church is full of programs. Programs that are good. Programs that are bad. Programs that are sacred vegi-cows. The one characteristic above all that programs MUST have is that they intentionally and specifically further the missional/evangelistic core value of the church. We don’t need any “just because programs”. Just because programs are those we do “just because”. They were started with good intentions, and even worked well (sometimes extremely well) for a season. But now they must die.

 

Easier said than done.

 

People are invested emotionally in the programs. Even though they may not be reaching any lost people the desire to maintain them will supersede the desire to accomplish mission.  That last sentence was hard to write. But it’s true. Here are three suggestions that may help you.

Sharpen your knife, please.

 

1. Have a compelling vision.

The clearer the vision, the clearer the programs that must be eliminated. If it’s fuzzy in the leadership team it will be unreadable in the pews. I hear a lot of vision statements that sound nice and MEAN NOTHING to the people because they don’t understand the implications.

“We want to reach our city for Christ”  (who doesn’t)

“To be a church that loves people and serves God”  (how will you do that exactly?)

 

Unpack that please…for example: Did you know that reaching the city means that sinners from said city will be coming to YOUR church, sitting next to YOUR daughter, and going to YOUR church picnic with their earrings, cigarette smell (not Marlboro, either) and (gasp) real chicken?

The truth is that many times “we are afraid of the people we claim we want to reach.) [1]

 

Be clear.

 

2. Have the guts to lead.

Pr Myron Edmunds says: “It is impossible to lead the church to the next level without attrition”. Read that sentence again. One more time. Now ponder the implications. People will leave. Sometimes the strongest leaders and the biggest givers will exit stage left. Volunteers will run short. Moral will be low. Giving will be lower. People will attack you, question you, call you the devil and call the conference, union, division and GC. They will even call your momma if it will make you stop. But if this is a God given vision, you must proceed. Make sure you are not changing doctrine, biblical principles, and the 10 commandments. We need churches that will say: “we’ll do anything short of sin to reach our community”. [2] Fierce, determined, hurtful opposition is a given. The devil hates evangelism. You will see how much when you become missional.

 

Be strong.

 

3. Have the involvement necessary to bring alignment to the vision.

There can’t be competing visions. The pain of transitioning a church to an evangelistic church is intense, for a season. Once again, read these two words: Intense. For a season.

 

Leading a church and remaining in the status quo is like a nagging low level pain that NEVER goes away. Some leaders choose that. It’s not pleasant, but at least I’m not screaming, and I will be gone in 4 years to another church that hopefully has it all figured it out.  A church that is full of “just because” programs will have competing visions, because the leaders of these programs think their vision is the right one, such as:

A “once a year” activities like deacons day.

Breakfasts that are attended by only us.

Anything that is attended by “only us”.

Sunday night evangelistic services that have no guests. (Spanish churches only)

 

This is FUBU church. For us, by us, and the end of the day, it’s just us. That’s not what God had in mind when he created the church and launched it. You bring people into alignment by explaining through the inspired writings that:

Familiar               holy

Familiar               better

Familiar               productive

 

Be intentional.

 

I leave you with this quote to ponder. Too strong? Possibly. But something to think about:

“If a church is open and only church people are attending I question the validity of it remaining in existence”.[3]



[1] Williams, Zach (2013-12-04). Transitioning the Church: Leading the Established Church to Reach the Unchurched (Kindle Location 765). Rainer Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

[2] Williams, Zach (2013-12-04). Transitioning the Church: Leading the Established Church to Reach the Unchurched (Kindle Location 765). Rainer Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

[3] Williams, Zach (2013-12-04). Transitioning the Church: Leading the Established Church to Reach the Unchurched (Kindle Location 730). Rainer Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

imprrh@gmail.com

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3 responses to Killing the “Just Because” Programs

  1. Thank you for voicing what so many of us tried to convey to our church leadership only to be called sinners and led to the door!

  2. Ditto to the above comment. Will you please clarify the following:

    “You bring people into alignment by explaining through the inspired writings that:

    Familiar holy

    Familiar better

    Familiar productive”

    Thanks

    • imprrh@gmail.com February 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Familiar does not equal holy.
      Familiar does not equal better.
      Familiar does not equal productive.
      Basically, just because we have always done it that way, does not mean it will always need to be done.